Why is Real-Time So Appealing?

We are social by nature. We need to interact with other people face to face and have that impromptu conversation on the spot and real-time. Up until now, the internet has not been able to give us this level of human interaction. With tools like Twitter and Facebook at our finder tips, we are able to replicate somewhat that craving for human interaction.

The application of real time is not new as you can gather from financial applications that provide traders with real time financial data so that they can make timely decisions. Note I said timely not wise. But what’s different now is that we all can access real time data that we care about mostly in real time. I am now able to keep in touch with my family in Spain, Ecuador and New York by emailing pictures, quotes, audio and video to my Tumblr account. I know that my family is subscrived to this channel so they will get a summary of the posts at the end of the day. I can stay in close contact with my brother who runs an adventure travel company in Ecuador and we can collaborate and work together. Hell, we can even fight like brothers do. All real time and all virtual.

But real time goes beyond the social aspect of it and that’s where the main opportunity lies. For instance, little things that we take for granted like being able to share images in real time via social networks and old school email continue to be a mystery for medical institutions.

Take my last experience with PAMF in Palo Alto for instance. We called the doctor because we were worried about Isaac, one of our 18 month old twins. We waited for a call back for about 90 minutes. Thank god it was not a life or death situation. When the doctor got on the phone she asked a bunch of questions but the main thing that made no sense was that after asking a great deal of information, her conclusion was that she couldn’t really diagnose the issue without seeing a picture of it.

We had a picture. Actually we had about five different ones ready to be emailed directly from our iPhones. So our response was that in fact had an image we can share. We asked for her email address and her answer was puzzling. She said “Oh no, we can’t receive images via email. Our system does not accept images”.

If this was a more worrisome situation we would have had to spend hours waiting to be seen at the urgent care center. All because PAMF has an email system that does not allow images.

In a case like this, the real time web would have been so so helpful, but the current system of fear around medicine keeps those institutions in the dark ages of computing. Real time is appealing to us because it allows us to mimic a face to face interaction and enrich a phone call or connect with friends and colleagues with a mobile device. It allows us to put a bit of our human nature back into the internet.


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